Happy New Year Everyone and Welcome Back Old Ball!
Rick Sund says Hill's job is safe for now, writes Hughes.
Though Sonics general manager Rick Sund did not want to comment on that story, or make a comment about Hillâ€™s job status, he did say there are extenuating reasons for the Sonicsâ€™ struggles this season â€“ insinuating that Hillâ€™s job for now is safe.
â€œAs we start the new year, players, coaches and management are frustrated with our record,â€ Sund said. â€œBut weâ€™ve had unfortunate, untimely key injuries and a very difficult schedule. We have to focus on what is going to get us back to a winning stretch.â€
Even before the season began, the Sonics lost starting center Robert Swift to a season-ending knee injury, altering rotations and leaving Hill still searching for a reliable starter at the position.
Then All-Star guard Ray Allen suffered a bone bruise in his right ankle, forcing him to miss nine games. And then Rashard Lewis tore a tendon sheath in his right (shooting) hand, sidelining the 23-points-a-game scorer for two months.
It is not unprecedented for a coach to be fired because some of his key players are injured. Last week, Memphis coach Mike Fratello was fired even though he did not have All-Star Pau Gasol for the first month and a half of the season.
The difference is that, like Weiss last season, Fratello had lost his players, they were not getting along, they were not responding and they were not playing hard.
Even on nights when they get blown out, the Sonics for the most part play inspired basketball, as they did against the Denver Nuggets Thursday night, when they were in the game until Chris Wilcox was ejected late in the third quarter.
Nice blog entry as well from Frank. It would really be something to see anyone on the Supes pump up their trade value.
Jan. 10th looms for Mike Wilks, Desmon Farmer and Greek Guy, one of whom at least will go. My money's on Greek Guy being replaced by Sene. Don't know about Farmer but don't see any reason to keep him over Penny or a D-leaguer.
Sene isn't likely to be shipped to the NBA Development League.
"I see Sene right where Robert [Swift] and Johan [Petro] were last year when I became the coach," Hill said. "He's on a mission, this kid. He wants to play. I'm going to play him. I think he's at a point where that's what he needs.
And it's still day-to-day with Danny Fortson which is seemingly starting to bother everyone.
When asked if the uncertainty at center is troublesome, Hill said: "It's not just about the coach. It's about the coach and it's about the rest of the team, those guys sitting in there who really want to win. It's about understanding that the rotations of a team are important.
"So guys know or have somewhat of an idea of when they're going to go in a game. If they're starting or where their minutes are coming from. That's all real stuff."
Still, Hill has no choice except to play Fortson because he has no confidence in Petro as a starter and has tried other players with little success.
"He can absolutely fill a void because we need a starting center," Hill said. "He's a veteran. He's tough. He can rebound. And he anchors the middle of your defense better than anybody we have."
Rashard will travel with the team on the Texas two-step that begins tonight. I'll take 1-1 and be very happy about it.
RIP Darrent Williams.